By John R. Alston Trotter, EdD, JD
The first thing that Erroll Davis needs to do is re-vamp the APS Complaints Policy which, as I have pointed out over and over, egregiously and flagrantly violates the Georgia Code (OCGA 20-2-989.5 et seq.). Destiny Washington, the attorney who was acting as Davis´s designee, shut down a grievance hearing on Wednesday when I just would not let her talk over me when I was cross-examining a principal (Tyronne Smith of Mays High School). APS´s actions relative to grievances/complaints are still unconscionable under the Erroll Davis Administration.
Now about Beverly Hall and the indictments: All one has to do is go to the MACE website or look on my personal blog and see that it was the people at MACE who were warning about “systematic cheating” on the streets of Atlanta and DeKalb, calling both systems “gangsta systems” in writing and on the streets with picket signs well before there was any talk about investigating the Beverly Hall and Crawford Lewis administrations. So much for a prophetic voice, heh?
Naturally, MACE has its detractors among the administrators who can “bravely” blog anonymously about MACE being a “tiny and third rate union.” But, it was ole Johnny Trotter and “his tiny and third union” which openly pointed out the complete disregard that the Beverly Hall and Crawford Lewis administrations had for the law, despite the fact that many, including the major media in the State, were either singing their praises or looking rather impassively at the goings-on in these systems.
So many of the administrators indicted have been the target of MACE (articles, our Needs Improvement List, pickets, letters, grievances, etc.) in the past. We never called them “criminals.” But, it looks like Paul Howard has stepped up to the plate and is calling them precisely this. I too believe that their actions were criminal, but we always leave the criminal stuff up to the prosecutors. I am impressed with Paul Howard´s mettle in prosecuting from the very top on down.
In particular, I remember the extremely hot picket on Trinity Avenue in the boiling summer heat in July of 2009 or 2010 when we were calling APS a “gangsta school system” and the three pickets three days in row in front of the DeKalb Central Office on North Decatur Road in 2009. The first day or two was in torrential downpour of rain, and Keith Whitney of 11 Alive News called to tell me that the company’s van had to return to the station because of the ominous weather. In these pickets, we were talking about “systematic cheating” and about DeKalb being a “gangsta school system.” In fact, we also called Crawford Lewis a “Candy Ass” (because his administration also shut down a grievance when a teacher whom we were representing was about to testify about systematic cheating at Clarkston High School). Yes, our tactics may be rather ruthless and politically incorrect and irreverent, but we just don’t care. When as many egregious and unconscionable things are occurring as were occurring in these two systems, sometimes it takes “a tiny and third rate union” (ha!) to point the finger at the injustices. I know one thing, anyone who works at MACE has more guts in their pinkie finger than these hollow and feckless administrators who blog under the cloak of darkness and who would never deign to use their real names.